New Ideas for Blinds and Curtains

Earlier this summer Hillary’s blinds asked me to get involved with their Autumn campaign on new ideas for blinds and curtains to showcase their latest fabric collections. There were to be four of us – Sophie Robinson (her off the telly) Daniela Tasca York (her wot won the telly show) and Emily Henson (stylist and author of three books including Bohemian Modern and Life Unstyled, which I’m sure many of you will be familiar with). Well I was thrilled not only to be included with these three proper professionals but also to get a chance to examine this subject more closely.

styling by Sophie Robinson for Hillarys: curtains eclipse denim, binds caprice paradise
styling by Sophie Robinson for Hillarys: curtains eclipse denim, binds caprice paradise

I confess I have never really paid much attention to window dressings. Beyond the fact that I don’t have any curtains as I have found they cut the light from the room (especially if you have bay windows) I have tended to stick up some white black-out blinds and leave it at that. But I’m always up for learning something new and while I have original Victorian sash windows that I like to leave as a feature in their own right, sometimes we need window dressings to cover more utilitarian frames as well as for privacy and decoration.

We were asked simply to visit the factory in Nottingham (Sophie and I went together and were so busy chatting at the station that we managed to get on the wrong train – did I just say professional?) and to choose fabrics for both curtains and blinds and then to style a room around our choices.

styling for Hillarys by Kate Watson-Smyth: blinds Clarence Blush
styling for Hillarys by Kate Watson-Smyth: blinds Clarence Blush

As you can see although the room sets are the same there are four very different looks although there are more than 300 fabrics in the collection so there was a huge amount to choose from.

We choose colours and fabrics that most represented our four styles but I think, and hope, that you will all find something that fits with your own prefences in these four, very different, room sets. Sophie’s (at the top) was all about colour clash and is a masterclass on how to mix patterns. If in doubt start with a combination of black and white geometric and add flowers. I love this even though, in theory, I’m not one for too much colour.

styling for HIllary’s by Daniela Tasca York: curtains clarence off white, tetbury ivory and voile lyra ivory

My room will come as no surprise to you although I’m really pleased with how it came out, thanks to the product loans from the lovely people at Rockett St George. Now while I don’t mix colour and pattern like Sophie, I do like to mix light and dark and vintage and modern. And I’m also done with plain white blinds and seriously considering replacing my sitting room blinds with a spot of millennial pink.

Daniela’s minimal luxe is also completely in her style and if you want to take inspiration from this the idea is to use similar colours but mix the materials as she has done here. Running the voile across the whole wall keeps the room looking pared back but expensive and allows the furniture to stand out.

styling for Hillarys by Emily Henson: curtains lindora sliver and blinds howard chartreuse
styling for Hillarys by Emily Henson: curtains lindora sliver and blinds howard chartreuse

Finally, Emily has chosen a natural palette of colours that all work perfectly together but the contrast of the linen curtains and rustic walls combine to make this room feel cosy and luxurious at the same time.

If you want to see more advice and ideas then visit Hillarys and I have labelled all the fabrics we used in the captions if you want to ask them for samples of these for your own schemes.

What do you think? I have just caught myself looking at the windows and wondering if a little curtain action wouldn’t go amiss after all… perhaps that’s the thought of winter.

To learn more about Sophie, Daniela and Emily visit them here:

Sophie Robinson

Daniela Tasca York

Emily Henson

Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Kate I love your blog and your styling but as a professional curtain maker my heart sank at this post. An independent curtain and blind maker would offer advice such as positioning a pole near the ceiling and much wider than the windows so that the window is still entirely visible and framed by the curtains, not blocked by them. Not to mention a choice of gorgeous fabrics. I have just painted my sitting room in Hicks Blue by little Greene and am making gorgeous velvet curtains just can’t decide between turmeric or burnt orange! Curtains don’t have to be passé!!

    1. And well said. You make an important point and the vast majority of people do have and want curtains – three out of four of these rooms do too. I might even be coming back round to them myself. Thank you for adding your comments to this post. Tough curtain call (!) I like both those colours and both are gorgeous with blue too…. let us know what you choose.

    2. You make a good point and most people do have, and want curtains. Three out of four of these images do have curtains too. I might even come back round to them myself. Thank you for making these important points. As for your personal curtain call (!) tough choice – both are lovely and both are lovely with blue….

  2. May I ask you about the blinds in your front reception room? I’m trying to find nice roller blinds for our bay window which is similar to yours but I haven’t found anything I like. Where did you get yours?

    1. so these are plain roller blinds from Ikea which we fitted to the sash window itself so they go up with the window. I am thinking of replacing with the ones I used for the Hillary styling though but again I would fix half way up rather than at the top as they did here.

  3. Kate – can you tell me where the mirror above the fireplace that appears in the room you styled is from? Thanks!

  4. Wow, each room set looks fabulous. I’m finding it hard to pick a favourite! Just goes to show how fabrics and colour make all the difference when creating an atmosphere in a room. The Caprice Paradise blinds have definitely caught my eye.

  5. Perfect timing as in the depths (and despair) of a house refurb. Have currently been considering curtains and blinds but have decided to wait until the new windows are in so the (clean) dust sheets will have to do!

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